A MAN has been arrested after former mayoress Gay Wharton died in a hit-and-run.

The 58-year-old grandmother was hit by a black Audi on Chorley New Road yesterday lunchtime.

She suffered serious injuries and died at the scene.

Although the Audi failed to stop, a 23-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, and remains in custody for questioning.

Sergeant Andrew Page of GMPs Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: "A woman has sadly lost her life following this incident and our thoughts remain with her family and loved ones as they come to terms with this awful news.

"This collision happened in broad daylight so we want to appeal to anyone who may have been in the area at the time to come forward and assist police with our enquiries. Were you travelling along Chorley New Road around the time? Did you see a black Audi in the area?

"We're particularly keen to speak to anyone who witnessed the collision or may have dash-cam footage of the vehicle in question. Please come forward and speak to police."

Officers believe the car was travelling north-east along Chorley New Road when it struck Mrs Wharton, who is believed to have been crossing the road, close to the junction with Bedford Street.

Tributes poured in to the much-loved woman – a pioneering mayoress alongside 2014 mayor Cllr Martin Donaghy and a second mayoress Jacqueline Tracey.

The trio previously worked together at Sainsbury’s in Bolton town centre, with Mrs Wharton championing women’s refuge Fortalice – as well as numerous other good causes in the town.

She went onto become a patron of Fortalice, and in 2017 she set also up a breakfast club for army veterans.

Cllr Donaghy said: “Gay was one of our in-store trainers at Sainsbury’s and she was quite reticent about the idea of being a mayoress.

“But I thought, no, she is going to be one of my mayoresses, and she really blossomed in the role.

“She was such a caring and concerned person. I’m obviously devastated and my thoughts go out to her husband to Steve and her family.”

Anyone with information - or dash-cam footage - has been urged to contact police on 0161 856 4741, quoting incident number 1019 of 13/11/2020.

Alternatively, details can be passed on anonymously via the independent charity, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.